Introduction: A three week road trip around Florida, June-July 2013

Posted on January 10, 2014 by in Features, Home, USA.

Screenshot 2014-01-10 14.19.20

In retrospect, perhaps a little excessive. But fun!

Teaser: New series starts this week
Introduction: A three week road trip around Florida, June-July 2013
Hotel review: Park Inn Oslo Airport
Flight report: Lufthansa New Business Class Frankfurt to Miami
First impressions – a Limey driving in the USA
Hotel review: Hilton Miami Downtown
First impressions – an Anglo-Nordic family in Miami
Hotel review: Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas, Orlando
Three theme parks in three days – Day 1: Walt Disney World
Three theme parks in three days – Day 2: Wet ‘n Wild
Three theme parks in three days – Day 3: Universal Orlando Resort
Hotel review: St. George Inn, St Augustine
Historical Florida – St Augustine
Hotel review: Hampton Inn & Suites Amelia Island
Fourth of July in the USA
Hotel review: Cedar Key Bed & Breakfast
Old Florida – Cedar Key
Hotel review: The Birchwood, St. Petersburg
Dali Museum, St. Petersburg
Hotel review: Island Inn, Sanibel
Cruising to Cabbage Key
Great road trips of the world – Highway 1
Hotel review: Orchid Key Inn, Key West
The other Florida – Key West
Hotel review: South Beach Z Ocean Hotel, Miami Beach

 

I’m not really sure how we decided on Florida for our summer holiday; what I do remember is deciding to splurge on a one-off extravaganza after the rough start to the year we’d all been through. We also hit on the idea of asking my mother-in-law whether she would like to come with us – Rebecca would get a room-mate and we’d get a little more privacy; but most of all it would be a chance for the four of us to spend quality time together. Anne had been heavily involved in Alexander’s life and a great help over the years – but she’d be the first to admit that she’d not been a very adventurous traveller. So one of the main principles behind planning this journey was to make it as comfortable as possible. After my experience flying to the USA in Economy I knew we’d need to splash out and with uncanny timing an email from Lufthansa dropped into my inbox. The airline had just started a summer campaign for Business Class seats and Miami was one of the destinations included.

Business Class lounge

Smug as a bug in a rug…

That was all the impetus I needed to get online and buy the four tickets – as Rebecca was considered an adult it was a hefty total and I actually had to call my credit card people to ask them to authorise such a big purchase. But no matter, by adding connecting flights from Trondheim to Oslo we had the framework in place. To avoid spending a whole day in the air we would fly down to Oslo in the evening and stay at an airport hotel before leaving for Frankfurt and on to Miami the following day. I then began to look into car hire and accommodation which was a time-consuming but fun part of the process. Given that we would only be spending a few days in each place there were a lot of hotels to contact but all of them accepted bookings either online or by email – only once did I actually have to call and that was because the hotel was so new their website was not yet operational :-)

After a week or so we had the itinerary sorted – the map above is a little unclear but you can click on it if you want to see it in higher resolution; you can then use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return here. Starting in Miami, we were to drive northwards as far as Amelia Island on the border with Georgia before crossing the state to Cedar Key and then following the Gulf Coast down to Sanibel Island. After that we’d drive all the way to Key West on our longest single journey before returning to Miami for our flight home. Yes, it was an ambitious route – and by the time I returned the rental car to Miami Airport we’d put a fair few miles on the clock…

Mileage stats

Not the best fuel efficiency, I grant you

The idea was to see as many sides of Florida and the USA as possible and return some other time to spend longer in the places we liked the most. There would be something for everyone – the quaint Florida for Anne, the theme parks of Orlando for Rebecca and the buzz of Miami and Key West for Mari Anne and I. Add in plenty of beach days, shopping, the food and drink – as you can imagine we were very excited…

As our departure date grew closer an email from Lufthansa arrived. At first I was a little shocked as it opened by informing me that our flight had been changed – but reading on I learned that they would be using the brand new 747-8 with its upgraded Business Class layout. Which was nice…and I’l tell you all about that very soon!

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